What do projects such as communities-in-schools, building affordable housing, preventing adverse childhood experiences, wasting less food, septic systems monitoring, and neighborhood trails or pathways have in common? They are all efforts being led by public and private entities in our community to boost our health.
How are they connected? They are all part of the Thurston Thrives campaign.
As we prepare to celebrate National Public Health Week (April 6-12), our goal is to make the United States the “Healthiest Nation in One Generation.” And you might take comfort knowing that Thurston County has a plan for getting our community there.
The County Health Rankings, a nationwide assessment of community health factors that was released last week, show that by addressing a variety of factors, we can improve how long and how well people in our community live. Our community’s call to action to address these health factors is called Thurston Thrives, and April marks its second anniversary.
Thurston Thrives, a public-private partnership, focuses on improving the health of all Thurston County residents through the coordinated action of its many teams. Our community has set targets for changes that make it easier to make healthy choices, such as eating nutritious food and getting daily exercise, and providing supports in our community that lead to better health.
The initiative recognizes that good health is more than health care and is focused on making our community’s economy, education and food systems, environment and housing more supportive of healthy living. It acknowledges the importance of not only good clinical care, but also of building social connection and resilience, so that young people grow up nurtured and strong and families get the support they need to stay well.
The nine original action teams may be joined by a 10th team on law and justice, which formed to create a similar health-centered strategy by the start of this year.
As 2015 began, people around Thurston County nominated members for the Thurston Thrives Coordinating Council, which includes representatives from business, government, philanthropy, education, action teams and the community at large. This diverse partnership reflects the array of groups, leaders and individuals necessary to make a lasting, measureable difference in the health of Thurston County’s residents.
The Coordinating Council will guide the initiative in its second phase, measuring, promoting, and sustaining it. It will ensure that the many parts of Thurston Thrives stay connected and share progress. It also will engage the whole community — as volunteers, as individual or family participants, or other contributors. Hundreds of partners are already implementing strategies that include reclaiming food, building safe routes for active transportation, developing affordable housing, and keeping air and water clean.
You can view what has been developed over the past two years, including the strategy maps and the structure of the new public-private partnership, and find ways to get involved, at thurstonthrives.org. Please join us in building a healthier community to live, work and play in.